A Catholic diocese north of Philippine capital Manila is going green to be more "earth-friendly," according to its bishop.
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said part of the diocese's efforts to care for the environment is by stopping the using of plastic flowers and plastic tarpaulins to decorate churches.
"In our cathedral we go green," said the prelate, adding that parishes are encouraged to use real plants and flowers as decor.
The grounds of the cathedral in the city of Balanga, in Bataan province, have also been declared a "no parking zone."
"This is to encourage parishioners to walk and feel free to move around the cathedral," said Bishop Santos.
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The prelate also reminded parishioners to keep the building and its surroundings clean.
Aside from putting into practice the teachings of Pope Francis in his encyclical on the environment, Laudato si'
, Bishop Santos said the decision to go green is also a show of support for a city ordinance against the use of plastic.
Even during parish council meetings and church celebrations people are urged to use banana leaves as plates.
Earlier, Bishop Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran
in the central Philippines called on priests and Catholics to avoid the use of plastic.
The bishops’ conference released a pastoral letter this week urging Filipinos to observe "ecological conversion
" and to "care for the earth in personal, communitarian, and institutional levels."
The bishops quoted Pope Francis who earlier warned that the world is facing a "climate emergency" and that the Church should "take action ... to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of injustice towards the poor and future generations."
"We, in the Philippine Church, are one with the Holy Father in pursuing a common agenda to protect our fragile ecosystem from the threat of the continuing ecological crisis," said the letter released on July 16.